Micro-Video Content: Telling a Brand Story in 10 Seconds or Less

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Ten seconds may not seem like enough time to share a branded message with consumers, but in today’s fast-paced world, it’s more than you might think. Consider that if time is money, 10 seconds (or less than 10 seconds) is not a huge investment for consumers, and therefore, makes them more inclined to view content in its entirety, resulting in higher viewer retention rates.

A recent study confirms that nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video content that’s under a minute long, and almost 50 percent of internet users report watching short-form video content daily, at all hours of the day. Snapchat is just another testament to the success of micro-video content. Although the social media giant limits the length of its posted videos to 10-second intervals, it boasts an impressive 10 billion video views per day.

Unfortunately for a lot of brands, it seems they haven’t quite figured out the magic formula for captivating the millennial demographic through micro-video stories. Recent findings prove that most Snapchat video ads average less than three seconds a view. So what’s a Snapchat-loving brand to do to engage consumers?

I recently sat down with Pace video producers Laura Ayala and Kimberly Dunckel to discuss best practices for bite-sized video content.

Laura: The beauty of a micro-story is that you leave a lot to the audience’s imagination. Less is more. I’m a big believer in not spelling things out for an audience because it assumes their intelligence. And, in an age of consuming video content, you don’t have to spell it out. A brand doesn’t have to go into all of the features of a product because we’ll just look it up online anyway. The primary purpose of a micro-story should be to engage, to spark an interest. That’s all you need to know.

Kimberly: I think the best thing about micro-content is that you’ve got good odds of getting someone to watch it all, the way it’s meant to be seen. It really forces you to be more creative and differentiate yourself because you have to grab attention and convey information in such a short window of time.

The primary purpose of a micro-story should be to engage, to spark an interest. That’s all you need to know.

Laura: Try to rely on visual details as much as possible. Say, for example, you have narration that says: ‘Michael was feeling happy, so he got dressed and went out for a run.’ Rather than say he was feeling happy, you can show him smiling. That communicates the same meaning in less time.

Kimberly: You should focus less on what you want consumers to get out of the video and more on the call to action—what you want them to do next. In most cases, 10 seconds isn’t enough time to convey a full brand message, but it is enough time to grab attention and refocus to what your end goal is. Micro-videos are a great tool to further brand awareness, whether you want consumers to visit your website afterward or to create their own videos using a sponsored Snapchat filter, for example.

Laura: Poo-Pourri has always been my favorite pre-roll video ad on YouTube, because she comes right out, flushing a toilet and slamming the bathroom door. I immediately know what her problem is. It’s funny and interesting enough for me to watch the rest of it instead of hitting the ‘skip’ button.

Kimberly: What engages me is when I see a sponsored video that’s maybe a little confusing as to why it would be related to the brand. A 10-second video that’s interesting for some reason, and has the brand logo and website up at the very end, is effective in that way. I’m thinking, why is that company showing me that video? It makes me want to research what that’s about. 

Laura: Agreed. It definitely helps to capture the funny moment or interesting moment early on, because you can add more information later. Plus it’s good to give your audience an option to learn more. If they don’t want to learn more, they weren’t interested to begin with.

A micro-video may not be the right content to drive consumer purchases for your products and services. Rather it should be used as a supplement to an already strong content strategy; something that draws viewers to your brand and directs them to your other longer-form content. Think of micro-video content as a conversation starter: something so creative and attention-grabbing, it leaves viewers feeling intrigued, rather than fatigued. As the old saying goes: Less is more.

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